Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Sheffield trees: Judicial review bid dismissed by High Court

Tree in Sheffield
Image caption Campaigners have been fighting tree felling in Sheffield

A High Court judge has dismissed a bid for a judicial review into Sheffield City Council's tree felling programme.

The Streets Ahead scheme has seen more than 3,000 trees replaced since 2012.

Campaigners claim they were not properly consulted about it and successfully applied for a temporary injunction to stop felling, but this was later overturned.

The council said the scheme is to remove dead, diseased or dangerous trees from roadsides in the city.

The Labour-run authority said the programme, being carried out by contractor Amey, was essential if Sheffield's 36,000 street trees are to be managed for future generations.

David Dillner, who lives in the city, took legal action and claimed the council failed to assess the environmental impact of the felling.

'Unpopular' programme

Delivering his ruling, Mr Justice Gilbart said Mr Dillner's claim was "in truth devoid of merit".

He said his job had been to determine the legal merits of Mr Dillner's High Court action and added: "Nothing in this judgment is to be read as criticising the residents of Sheffield for seeking to protect the trees in their streets and roads whose presence many of them appreciate so much."

Mr Gilbart said the council was required to maintain roads and streets and it was "unfortunate in the extreme" that the objectors "failed to address both sides of the argument".

The judge said Mr Dillner must pay £5,000 of the legal costs run up by the council, as well as footing his own lawyers' bills.

Mr Dillner said he was "extremely disappointed with the court's decision".

"My legal team does not accept the strident criticism in the judgement and will be appealing the decision to the Court of Appeal before the end of this week," he said.

"I will be seeking the council's immediate assurance that it will not recommence felling until the Court of Appeal has considered whether to grant permission for my appeal to be heard."

Simon Green, of Sheffield City Council, said: "The decision demonstrates that we have been right to say we are following best practice guidance and working hard in the best interests of the city."

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